In this issue:
– New: UELAC Face Mask
– The Head of Elk: A Turning Point for Loyalists (Part 3 of 5), by Stephen Davidson
– David Dinsmore: Ulster-Scots Loyalist in South Carolina and Nova Scotia Exile
– Ten Great Revolutionary War Prints
– JAR: The Outlaw Cornelius Hatfield: Loyalist Partisan of the American Revolution
– JAR: Colonel Henry Jackson Accused of Misconduct at the Battle of Monmouth Court House
– Borealia: Settler Science in New Brunswick: The Brydone Jack Observatory and the Invention of European Sovereignty
– Ben Franklin’s World: Democracy & Voting in British America
– Book: Pioneers of Florida 1776-1860: The Story of the Williams Family
– Book: Black Loyalists in New Brunswick, by Stephen Davidson, UE
– A Reader’s Genealogical and Family History Journey
– Where in the World?
– Additions to the Loyalist Directory
– From the Twittersphere and Beyond
– Last Post
+ Marion Isabelle Smith Tait, UE, DAR
+ Twila Luella (Wardell) Harpwood, UE
See the latest addition to the UELAC store: Face Mask. Order yours today!
© Stephen Davidson, UE
When he appeared before the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (RCLSAL) in August of 1784, Thomas Badge described himself as a native of England, a student in Ireland, and a 1767 immigrant who had become a soap-boiler and tallow chandler in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition to selling soap and candles, Badge’s store also had a stock of shirts, shoes and “other articles”.
After the outbreak of the War of Independence, Badge “refused to take part with the Americans”, and put his Loyalist convictions into action by spying on the rebel army’s camp. A witness on his behalf said that Badge took “great pains to acquire information for the British Army”. In the summer of 1777, he provided intelligence on rebel troop movement to British headquarters in New York City.
In his absence, rebels confiscated a “great many boxes of soap and candles” and two enslaved Blacks from Badge’s home. Returning to Philadelphia on his own was not an option for the Loyalist. Because of his knowledge of the landscape around Philadelphia, Badge was employed as a guide for General Howe’s troops when they landed at the Head of Elk and made their way to the Patriot capital. He was wounded in a battle following the British victory at Brandywine, receiving a musket ball in his right arm.
The man who served General Howe as a guide from the Head of Elk to Philadelphia was recognized as a Loyalist on August 24, 1784. After receiving his compensation for wartime losses, Thomas Badge disappears from the historical records.
For the next Head of Elk story, we must leave England and cross the Atlantic. Just down river from the town of Maugerville, New Brunswick is the community of Burton. Founded by Loyalists, this settlement became the new home of Hugh McNeil in September of 1783. Four years later, McNeil appeared before the RCLSAL when it convened in Saint John and told the story of his service during the revolution – a service that began with the arrival of the British army at the Head of Elk on August of 1777.
McNeil had immigrated to Bedford County, Pennsylvania from Ireland in 1763. He acquired a farm and lived peacefully until local Patriots tried to compel him to join their army in 1775. McNeil “never took part with them” and paid fines rather than taking up arms against the crown. Within two years time, rebels put McNeil in prison for “assisting young men to escape to the British army”.
When the British army landed at the Head of Elk on its way to capturing Philadelphia, McNeil immediately joined, becoming a carpenter in the engineers department. While McNeil had a non-combative role within the British army, his brother James enlisted as a soldier and was killed in the Battle of Brandywine a few weeks after McNeil began his service. The brothers were joint owners of two farms in Bedford County that had a combined area of 1,300 acres.
Following Hugh’s departure and James’ death, the local Patriots seized Hugh’s house, barn and stable as well as two cows, four horses, two heifers, six pigs and a wagon and then sold them at auction.
McNeil remained with the British army for the next four years. In October of 1781, he became a prisoner of war following the Patriot victory in Virginia at the Battle of Yorktown. Set free through a prisoner exchange, McNeil made his way to New York City. His discharge from the engineer department included a character assessment from Robert Morse, the chief engineer, that described McNeil as “an honest, deserving man”. The Loyalist and his wife boarded the Peggy in the fall of 1783, sailing for the mouth of the St. John River with William Walker’s company.
In next week’s Loyalist Trails, a Loyalist husband tries to reclaim the property he gained by marrying a Patriot wife. It’s a love story that fizzled out after the events at the Head of Elk.
To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.
By William Lindsey
This is the story of a young married man who came to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1767 as a Northern Irish immigrant, and who then took the British side when revolution broke out, finding himself exiled to Nova Scotia as a result. When David Dinsmore went to Canada, his wife Margaret and their children remained in South Carolina. All evidence suggests that, after he went to Nova Scotia, David never reunited with his family. War and exile sundered this family decisively.
David and Margaret (maiden name unknown) appear in the list of passengers who arrived in Charleston aboard the Earl of Donegal on 10 December 1767. This ship had sailed from Belfast on 7 October. Prior to its sailing, notices of its impending voyage appeared in the Belfast News-Letter stating that it was recruiting passengers in Ballymena and Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, as well as in Belfast – and it’s likely that David and Margaret hailed from one of those places. The list of passengers recorded in the South Carolina Council Journals on its arrival gives David’s age as 17 and Margaret’s as 20.
On 22 December, the Council Journals record land grants to the ship’s passengers. Under the colony’s bounty act, David received 100 acres and Margaret 50. The land was in Craven County, later Ninety Six District and finally Spartanburg County. South Carolina Colonial plat books show the land lying south of the Tyger River with a branch running to Jamey’s Creek originating on it. The land was certified to David on 27 February 1768.
At some point after that date, David sold his land grant and bought 250 acres on 10 December 1774, also on Jamey’s Creek, on which the family then settled. A 1769 land grant shows a Chesney family, apparently from Ballymena, on an adjacent tract. By the end of 1774, David and Margaret had had children James, Mary, and John, with two more to be born later, a daughter Mary Jane and a daughter whose name is not known.
Then the Revolution arrived. When David would file his land clam for Loyalist service in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 19 April 1786 he would state that in 1775 he had taken up arms under General William Cunningham, joining Colonel Archibald Campbell in Georgia. From 1780 forward David was in Zacharias Gibbs’s Spartan or Upper Regiment of South Carolina. Gibbs, who appears in David’s records in Nova Scotia, lived in Ninety Six district and recruited largely from there. The revolution was in that part of South Carolina a virtual civil war, with citizens about equally divided between the opposing sides.
Under Campbell, David took part in British campaigns in Georgia before his service under Gibbs had him at the battle of Kings Mountain in October 1780. His pay abstract for service in Gibbs’s militia states that he was paid for accompanying Lieutenant Colonel John Harris Cruger as he evacuated Loyalists from Fort Ninety Six to Orangeburg following the fall of Ninety Six to the Americans in June 1781.
After Ninety Six fell and the South Carolina Loyalists retreated first to Orangeburg and then to Charleston in the latter part of 1781, they began making arrangements to leave the colony. David’s Loyalist land claim states, “At the Evacuation of C. Town he came to this Province and is now settled in Rawdon.” By mid-August 1782, 4,200 Loyalists had registered to leave South Carolina, including nearly 2,500 women and children with 7,200 enslaved Africans and African-Americans. Prior to their departure, on 18 April, Zachariah Gibbs and other Loyalists prepared a petition to the Crown indicating that a large number of Tories had been murdered by the Whigs in the colony, with the majority of these in Ninety Six District.
Ships began leaving Charleston for East Florida in September and October, and a fleet set sail for Nova Scotia under Colonel Samuel Campbell of North Carolina in late October heading for Halifax with 500 Loyalists, among whom were included 50 enslaved persons. On 21 November the ships Free Briton and the John and Bella arrived in Halifax carrying many of the South Carolina refugees. More than twenty of the families and as many single men, all from South Carolina, then settled at Rawdon in Hants County, about 60 miles north of Halifax.
More Loyalists from both North and South Carolina followed into the winter months, with 500 refugees arriving in Halifax from South Carolina during the winter of 1782, a particularly cold winter for which many of these new settlers were ill-prepared as they arrived from a much warmer climate without many of their possessions. By 1788, 74 Southern backcountry men and their widows had obtained land grants at Rawdon, constituting almost the entirety of the settlement. The large majority of these were from Ninety Six District in South Carolina, and of Ulster Scots origins. Also settling at Rawdon initially was Zachariah Gibbs, who first went to East Florida and then Jamaica after Charleston was evacuated, but finally settled (briefly) at Rawdon.
David was indubitably among those Loyalists who sailed from Charleston to Halifax in the fall and winter of 1782, and at some point after his arrival, it’s clear he settled at Rawdon, since when he filed his Loyalist land claim in 1786, he noted Rawdon as his residence. The land claim states that, in addition to taking arms under Cunningham in 1775 and joining Campbell in Georgia, he had been imprisoned for five months.
He had, he stated, forfeited 250 acres on James Creek for which he had paid £100 and one enslaved woman. He had cleared 47 acres and had a house and barn, and had considerable stock including horses, cattle, hogs, and sheep. He did not know in whose possession his farm was in 1786, but believed his wife and five children were in South Carolina being taken care of by supporters of the American cause.
David requested that the Crown grant him 250 acres in Nova Scotia to recompense him for his loss. He was, instead, granted 100 acres in the southeast section of Rawdon township in Brushy Hills. On 9 January 1787 David sold this land to Thomas Parker with Zachariah Gibbs as one of the witnesses to the deed. Prior to this, on 24 August 1786 he had bought 300 acres at Noel Shore in Hants County from a William Densmore who appears to have been his kinsman. This tract was out of a 1780 grant of 1,500 acres to William’s father James Densmore, who came to Nova Scotia from Co. Londonderry, Ireland.
David’s sale of his Rawdon grant in January 1787 is the last record I have been able to find for him. Zacharias Gibbs proved the deed on 3 June 1788. Gibbs left Rawdon late in 1792 and is said at some unspecified date not long after this to have set sail from Nova Scotia to Ulster with William Meek, also from Rawdon, and an unnamed traveling companion. Gibbs and Meek were not heard from again, and it’s assumed their ship sank.
By 1790, David’s wife Margaret appears on the U.S. federal census as head of their household in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, and in 1800, when she moved with her children to Kentucky, she and son John sold the family’s land in South Carolina, an indicator that the land then legally belonged to Margaret and her children. No records indicate that the family was ever reunited after David left South Carolina for Nova Scotia.
Editor’s Note: In the Loyalist Directory, the entry for David Dinsmore has links to two more comprehensive documents (a 28 page document, and a series of seven blog posts) each of which has additional information and sources.
The American Revolution Institute
Prints created during the Revolutionary War by American, British, French and other Continental printmakers offer unique insights on how contemporaries – artists, engravers and their audiences – viewed the people, events and ideas of the American Revolution. The ten Revolutionary War prints featured here – portraits, satirical prints, scenes of battle and other events, and elaborate allegories – represent the genres that attracted printmakers and their audiences. They also represent the variety of methods employed by printmakers, from simple copperplate engravings to mezzotints, etchings and composite prints involving more than one printmaking technique.
European artists raised printmaking to the peak of sophistication in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
American printmaking lagged far behind European printmaking during the eighteenth century, but the American Revolution created a market for printed portraits of American leaders and depictions of events in America that could not be supplied by European printmakers, who created imaginary and often ludicrously inaccurate representations of people, places and events in America.
All of the prints featured here were published during the Revolutionary War and sold as single sheets rather than as illustrations in books or pamphlets. They were all intended for display, either framed or in a collection of prints stored in a portfolio or cabinet.
by Eric Wiser 8 October 2020
The war for all practical purposes was over when hostilities ended with a cease fire negotiated by the Americans, British, French, and Spanish in January 1783. In New York, on June 19, British Brig. Gen. Samuel Birch wrote Commander-in-Chief Sir Guy Carleton that he had failed in his mission to locate and apprehend Capt. Cornelius Hatfield. Carleton promised to comply with New Jersey Gov. William Livingston’s request that an “immediate search to be made for Cornelius Hatfield, that effectual justice may be done.” Hatfield was usually seen around Gen. Cortlandt Skinner’s headquarters on Staten Island, a place that served as an island fortress garrisoned by Loyalist battalions. General Birch had “taken much pains to discover if Hatfield was in the garrison and the only information I have been able to obtain, is, that he embarked privately on a schooner, and sailed two or three days before the last fleet for Nova Scotia.”
The man being sought was the Loyalist partisan Cornelius Hatfield, an articulate and intelligent man with boundless energy, and skill in violence. The only description of Hatfield’s appearance that exists is from an unsourced nineteenth-century history that says “he was fine looking man, with dark hair, fair skin, and fine, ivory-like teeth,” and that he received a “fine education. He was very active and strong.” A Loyalist who knew him said that “Hatfield was a very zealous Loyalist . . . but a loose, drinking sort of man and not of the coolest sense.” Hatfield’s bravery was never in question, as demonstrated when he and about a dozen men under his leadership captured a twelve-gun sloop while under a hail of musket and artillery fire from a Rebel picket. A Patriot spy in New York said that Hatfield “swears he will hang every one of those committeeman and others that have sworn the King and Congress and then taken arms against the King.”
People at the highest levels of the American Revolutionary government grew to fear Cornelius Hatfield. When it was learned that Hatfield left New York in a small schooner to bring dispatches to Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in September 1781, Continental Congress President Thomas McKean warned Delaware President Caesar Rodney that if “Cornelius Hatfield should be apprehended, I am to request that he may be securely confined and guarded.”
by Christian M. McBurney 5 October 2020
In my study of Major General Charles Lee, who commanded Continental Army troops at the fascinating Battle of Monmouth Court House, I argue that his post-battle convictions for failing to attack the enemy and for an unwarranted retreat were unjustified. I further argue that most of the blame for the retreat should have fallen on brigadier generals Charles Scott and William Maxwell, who retreated without orders, thereby removing from the field more than half of Lee’s force.
Another Continental Army officer who retreated without orders was Col. Henry Jackson, who commanded about 200 Massachusetts Continentals at the battle.
The record of Lee’s court-martial allows the historian to derive crucial details about Monmouth from testimony taken only a few days after the battle. Jackson’s retreat was covered not only at Lee’s court-martial trial, but also in a separate court of inquiry held in mid-1779.
By Richard Yeomans 28 September 2020
New Brunswick’s western border with the state of Maine has long been one of the most contested geopolitical terrains in North America. After the end of the American Revolution, and the partition of New Brunswick from the British colony of Nova Scotia, early loyalist settlers and colonial officials laboured to establish concrete claims to the territory north of the mouth of the St. Croix River. New Brunswick’s border problem was complicated by “The Commissioners who determined what river was the St. Croix,” remarked famed New Brunswick loyalist Edward Winslow in 1800, because they “were prevented even from ascertaining the Latitude & Longitude of the source.” Lacking such information, land surveying along the new border depended upon Passamaquoddy knowledge of the many watersheds throughout the region. Governments in Fredericton and Boston actively engaged with Passamaquoddy First Nations and earlier settler inhabitants by collecting statements and conduction depositions so to better strengthen their respective claims to the territory. Even after the 1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty established a political boundary agreed upon by settler and imperial states, boundary disputes continued because science-driven settler knowledge of latitude and longitude was lacking. The solution, proposed by nineteenth-century New Brunswick settlers, was the construction of an astronomical observatory that could scientifically determine the location of the border and boost the commercial development of the province. The process through which settler science supplanted Indigenous knowledge of the landscape raises important questions about the relationship between scientific knowledge and settler colonialism in New Brunswick. European sovereignty over the land was fabricated using knowledge first produced by Indigenous peoples, and later substantiated by scientific mechanisms such as observatories. With that in mind, this short essay seeks to ask how settlers invented their sovereignty along New Brunswick’s western edge, and how settler science disrupted and erased Indigenous knowledge of the landscape.
One of the clearest examples of the intersection between white settler science and settler colonial expansion in New Brunswick is located on the campus of the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton. The oldest university in Canada, UNB has been a leader in scholarly research in northern North America for more than two centuries and is home to the first astronomical observatory in British North America: the Brydone Jack Observatory.
The British North American colonies formed some of the most democratic governments in the world. But that doesn’t mean that all early Americans were treated equally or allowed to participate in representative government.
Who could vote in Early America? And who could participate in representative government?
Historians James Kloppenberg, the Charles Warren Professor of History at Harvard University, and Amy Watson, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, join us to explore who democracy was meant for and how those who lived in colonial British America understood and practiced representative government.
The patriarch of the Williams family, Samuel Williams (1710-1786) was a fervent loyalist from North Carolina. He had at least 7 children – 5 boys, 2 girls, all of whom were also faithful loyalists, including the husbands of the girls. They were forced to seek safety in Florida in the late 1770s after fighting in and losing at the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge in NC. In Florida they continued to fight in local loyalist militias against rebels in Georgia and SC.
This account is that of the father’s and all the children’s efforts during the war (even a couple of grandsons fought) and their lives after the war. Their difficulties, as well as those of many other loyalist families, were increased with the recession of Florida back to the Spanish in 1783.
Although the Williams did not migrate to Canada, they dispersed to the Bahamas, Trinidad, the St. Marys region at the FL/GA border and back to England. However one, the eldest son and heir, did travel to Nova Scotia to personally present a claim with the officials there for his losses during the war.
Black Loyalists in New Brunswick: The lives of eight African Americans in colonial New Brunswick 1783-1834, by Stephen Davidson, UE. Published by Formac Books; see cover.
Loyalist Trails contributor Stephen Davidson’s new book will be available October 13th.
Articles that were written over the span of a dozen years for Loyalist Trails have now been collected, revised and expanded to become Stephen’s second book on the Black Loyalists of the Maritimes.
Among the Loyalists who were transported to the shores of New Brunswick by the British after their defeat by revolutionary Americans were several hundred African Americans. Like their counterparts who went to what is now Nova Scotia, among this group were formerly enslaved men, women and children who had been granted their freedom in exchange for joining the British side during the revolutionary war.
In the colony that soon became New Brunswick, slavery was still legal. Many African American Loyalists had to become indentured labourers to survive in this new situation. Many others took up the opportunity offered them in 1791 to move yet again, this time to Sierra Leone in Africa where many Black Loyalists established a new colony on the coast of Africa where they lived free of slavery.
The stories of New Brunswick’s Black Loyalists are captured in the brief biographies of eight individuals – men, women and youths – presented by author Stephen Davidson. Through their experiences a picture emerges of the narrow limits to the freedom which the Black Loyalists were able to experience in a predominantly white and highly racist colony.
My mother was really into genealogy many years ago in the 60s. She wrote by long hand to cousins, etc, looking up long lost relatives. I only picked up her threads after I retired, about 12 years ago. I was a commercial photographer till then. I traveled around Florida digging into archives in St. Augustine, FSU, and UF plus many historical societies around the state and in NC.
It seems everywhere I went, I ran into cousins I didn’t know I had. In NC, the lady at the historical society there turned out to be cousin! They led me to other sources. I hadn’t realized the extent till I got back into the 1700s and discovered all the loyalists back there – all through my father’s father’s line. And surprisingly discovered that through his mother’s line were a bunch of rebels who may have fought each other (no documentation that it really happened).
After extensive research I discovered that one descendant of one loyalist line married a descendant of another line many generations later, with no idea of each other’s lineage. They would have been 4th cousins. And both the earlier loyalists knew each other in the British army! Then I discovered a 7th cousin who was a neighbor and a playmate of my father’s growing up with no idea of the connection. Strange how genealogy works.
Where is Doug Grant of Gov. Simcoe Branch?
To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is (if you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well). Send your submission to the editor at email@example.com.
As time permits, we add information to the Loyalist Directory. The latest additions and updates are as follows:
- Martin Alguire – contributed by Vicki Holmes
- John Barnhart – contributed from Branch records by Jo Ann Tuskin
- David Daley – contributed by Pam Wood Waugh
- John Throckmorton – contributed by Kevin Wisener
Please help us build the directory by contributing information. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
- Two Gentlemen and a Lost Dog, 1777. Susan Holloway Scott. Commercial advertising seldom includes the Founding Fathers, but a recent advertisement from Pedigree dog food features a little-known historical incident involving two gentlemen, a lost dog, and the Revolutionary War. The advertisement is part of Pedigree’s series with the tag line that “dogs bring out the best in us,” and this advertisement proves exactly that. I won’t ruin the spot with spoilers, but what’s shown really did happen. Read more…
- The habitants of Quebec in 1775 referred to all the American revolutionary invaders as “Les Bastonnais,” as in, Bostonians, and that gives me a huge laugh because I can imagine how mad the Pennsylvanians and Virginians must’ve been to be associated with New England
- Beside gravestone for Abraham Pineo Gesner, inventor of kerosene, in Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax. Father was United Empire Loyalist Henry Gesner who served with King’s Orange Rangers in American Revolution. Brian McConnell UE
- Bata Shoe Museum: Our next Salon Series guest is Dr. Kimberly Alexander, Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of New Hampshire (@silkdamask)! Kimberly and @esemmelhack will discuss Patriotism and the Politicization of Shoes, 1760s -1780s. Wed 21 Oct 2020, 7:00pm ET. Register here
- See the fine photographs of the gravestones for the Langley children of Newport, Rhode Island. The stones are impressive both because of their size and because they force us to think of the families who lost so many of their children. The six Langleys died over a wide stretch of years from 1771 to 1785. All were young, but their five siblings grew up healthy. In the mid-1780s their wealthy parents took the opportunity to commission this stone from carver John Bull. (Click on the photo for more pics).
- This Week in History
- 8 Oct 1775 General officers of Continental Army meet, decide to bar slaves & free blacks from enlisting.
- 5 Oct 1776 Georgia Constitutional Convention meets to draft plan of gov’t for post-colonial state.
- 4 Oct 1777 Americans defeated at Battle of Germantown; nonetheless, Washington’s audacious attack impresses French.
- 9 Oct 1779 Polish General Pulaski mortally wounded leading Patriots in attack on Savannah.
- 7 Oct 1780 Patriots crush Loyalist militia at Battle of Kings Mountain, South-Carolina.
- 10 Oct 1780 Great Hurricane strikes Caribbean, killing over 22,000 & sinking over 50 British & French warships.
- 3 Oct 1781 French cavalry & British forces skirmish at Gloucester, Virginia; French block supplies to Cornwallis.
- 6 Oct 1781 Americans & French begin siege of Cornwallis at Yorktown; final major battle of Rev War.
- How Many Bread Loaves? [can we cook in the new humungous oven]
- Clothing and Related:
- 18th Century wedding dress of Hannah Palmer of Bedford, she wore this dress when she married the Reverend William Bull of Newport Pagnell in June 1768. Her marriage was a long and happy one. The dress stayed in her family until 1987
- Matching stomacher, overdress & underskirt. What might have been worn underneath to ensure a correct & fashionable shape?
- 18th Century dress, Robe à la Française, with patterns composed of vases with leaves & flower motifs, & geometric figures woven with metal thread, c. 1750’s
- 18th Century dress detail, silk brocaded with silk & silver gilt threads, stomacher trimmed with silver-gilt lace & silk flowers, 1745-1750 but altered 1770
- 18th Century day dress, 1760-1780, dull purple silk with woven leaf-trellis pattern in white, cream & golden brown with large irregular diamond shapes & small irregular circles in white, these have brocaded floral sprays
- 18th Century wool coat with velvet collar & deep cuffs owned & worn by poet William Cowper, When he died in 1800 friends & fans rushed to keep mementoes of him, usually buttons & buckles. Thankfully the 16 buttons on this coat survived.
- 18th Century men’s waistcoat, beautiful pale blue silk, 1790’s via Centraal Museum
- 18th Century men’s suit of uncut voided silk velvet with embroidered silk waistcoat, c1790-1800
- 18th Century wedding dress of Hannah Palmer of Bedford, she wore this dress when she married the Reverend William Bull of Newport Pagnell in June 1768. Her marriage was a long and happy one. The dress stayed in her family until 1987
Aug 24, 1925 – Sept 30, 2020
After a brief illness, Marion passed away peacefully surrounded by the love of her family. Predeceased by her husband Mitchell (2015); her parents, Dewey and Elizabeth (Gloyd); and her siblings, Helen, Betty, Myrl and Lloyd. Marion will be deeply missed. nd Robert Canning, nephews Wayne, Rick, Bill and Geoff Smith and many dear friends.
Born in Dunnville, Marion lived a long and happy life. She married Mitchell Brown Tait, a Kiwi soldier, in 1951. During WWII, Mitch had served with the 25th Battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces until he was wounded by a land mine explosion in Italy. After returning from WWII, Mitch opened a photography business that flourished until his retirement. With a husband, brother, great nephew, and uncle who served in the armed forces, Marion supported efforts to recognize the tremendous contributions that veterans make to the lives of all Canadians. Although a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis added to Mitchell’s health challenges, Marion and Mitch enjoyed 64 happy years together.
With a keen mind for details, Marion had a long and successful career in administrative positions. She started her career with the Royal Bank in Dunnville, then worked for Molly Hedrick’s Insurance Agency for many, many years. She eventually retired from Duliban Insurance so she could spend more time with her many hobbies and with Mitch.
Marion cherished her family and was very close to her sister Betty. Wherever Betty went, Marion was right beside her – whether it was a quick shopping trip, a card party, or celebrating a family event.
Marion expressed her strong creative flair through many activities, including calligraphy, drawing, and wood carving. Among her treasures are many species of ducks, ravens, raptors, kiwis (of course), bears, shorebirds and others.
Marion was a gifted genealogist and very proud to be a Mayflower descendant, United Empire Loyalist, and a Daughter of the American Revolution. She avidly encouraged others to learn more about their family histories and helped many people get started on their own paths to discovery. Accompanied by niece Cyndee (her ‘Mayflower girl’), Marion made several trips to Plymouth Massachusetts to celebrate her Mayflower heritage.
Kia Ora, Kia Kaha (Be well, stay strong)
Marion was a lovely lady, a true friend and a very loyal member of both Grand River and St.Catharines & District/Col. John Butler Niagara) Branches for almost 30 years. She rarely missed a Col. John Butler meeting and until 2 years ago drove a car load of Loyalist friends from Dunnville to Betty’s Restaurant in Chippawa in all kinds of weather. She will be dearly missed.
Marion was very proud of her 11 Loyalist ancestors, some from the Grand River area and some from Niagara. In June 1993 she received her first certificate for Loyalist John Secord Sr. and in February 2019 she was delighted to receive her most recent certificate for Loyalist Hannah Sypes. In the years between she proved her descent from Loyalists: David Bertran, Jacob Bowman, Richard Mead, Christian Price, James Secord Sr., Solomon Secord, Elias Smith Sr., Joseph Wardell and Henry Windecker.
…Bev Balch Grand River Branch, Bev Craig Col. John Butler Branch
Col. John Butler (Niagara) Branch members are saddened to report the passing of Twila Luella (Wardell) HARPWOOD UE. Twilla passed away peacefully on August 13th, 2020 in her 94th year. She was very proud of her Loyalist ancestor, Joseph Wardell, who served in the New Jersey Volunteers. Twila and her dear sister Gloria (Wardell) Ursacki UE attended many Col. John Butler (Niagara) meetings. They enjoyed mini Wardell reunions with other descendants of Joseph Wardell. Twila will be truly missed. Please click here to view Twila’s obituary and access online condolences.
…Bev Craig, Col. John Butler Branch